Utah lawmaker looking to ban smoking at state capitol

In this Tuesday June 20, 2017 members of a Japanese tour group protect themselves from the blazing Utah sun while visiting the state capitol in Salt Lake City. Republican State Rep. Bruce Cutler is pushing state officials to consider banning smoking on the grounds of the Utah State Capitol. Cutler told the Capitol Preservation Board Monday, Nov. 6 that his idea was inspired by a similar move by the University of Utah in August that prohibits tobacco and the use of e-cigarettes on the campus, The Salt Lake Tribune reported. (Al Hartmann/The Salt Lake Tribune via AP)

SALT LAKE CITY - A Utah lawmaker is pushing state officials to consider banning smoking on the grounds of the Utah state capitol.

Republican State Rep. Bruce Cutler told the Capitol Preservation Board that his idea was inspired by a similar move by the University of Utah in August that prohibits tobacco and the use of e-cigarettes on the campus, The Salt Lake Tribune reported .

"It's a great statement they have made that they care about the health of individuals," the Murray lawmaker told the board. Making the Capitol tobacco free would "show we care about people's health, care about the health of our employees."

Smoking at the Capitol is already restricted to designated areas.

Republican Sen. Pete Knudson of Brigham City doesn't see much of a need for the ban since the state hasn't received any complaints regarding smokers, he said.

The board is researching how many other state capitols nationwide ban tobacco use and is asking tourism companies if such a ban would impact international visitors and whether it would be difficult to enforce.

Between 200,000 and 250,000 people visit the building annually and about 50,000 of them are international tourists that arrive on bus tours, according to Allyson Gamble, executive director of the preservation board.

Foreign tourists are seen smoking by the buses instead of near the building, she said.

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Information from: The Salt Lake Tribune, http://www.sltrib.com


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